NewsCovering Colorado


'The amount of waste we were having was ridiculous' elementary school lunch lady fought for sustainability

Colorado Springs School District 11's Buena Vista Elementary School ditched foam lunch trays for reusable ones.
Posted at 8:03 PM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 11:28:50-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Colorado Springs School District 11's Buena Vista Elementary School is one step closer to a zero-waste lunch program.

"Students threw about 500 foam trays in the landfill every week," said kitchen manager Tammy Burghart. "I got tired of seeing all the waste. We went from five to six trash cans down to one."

After 13 years, Burghart said she was happy to finally get reusable lunch trays last month. A Parent Teacher Association (PTA) mom Diana Lopez Starkus said her third-grader was excited to bring her learning back home.

"The day that these trays were implemented, she came home just bright and excited, she was happy, she was empowered," said Starkus.

Buena Vista Elementary School is the second school in District 11 to get reusable lunch trays.

"It’s so exciting, my children are BV alums and I really wish that they could’ve had this program when they were here," said head secretary Karen Bleibaum.

The next step in a zero-waste lunch program is replacing plastic sporks. Burghart said she hopes other schools can follow the lead soon.

"Oh my gosh, it’s like a God-sent," said Burghart. "Now if I could get the kids to eat their vegetables, I would be in Heaven."

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